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HomeUS NewsSymrise chemical plant fire, explosions prompt evacuations in Georgia

Symrise chemical plant fire, explosions prompt evacuations in Georgia

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Several neighborhoods in coastal Georgia were evacuated early Monday after a fire broke out and explosions were reported inside a chemical plant.

The fire was reported around 4 a.m. Monday and employees were evacuated from a plant outside Brunswick, Robin Sousa, spokeswoman for the Glynn County Sheriff’s Office, told USA TODAY. The plant is operated by Symrise, a German company that produces fragrances, flavoring and other ingredients for foods and cosmetics.

County officials ordered neighborhoods within a 1-mile radius to evacuate due to the smoke and possibility of explosions and a temporary shelter was set up for citizens, officials said in a statement

Neighborhoods within a 3-mile radius were given orders to shelter in place, according to the Glynn County Board of Commissioners. Glynn County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency said in a statement that two schools were also ordered to shelter in place.

Although fire officials said it’s too soon to determine what caused the blaze, the agency said hydrogen peroxide pinene, a chemical manufactured at the plant, is the chemical source of the fire.

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department Public Information Officer Capt. Eric Prosswimmer, center, speaks at a news briefing Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Brunswick, Ga. A large fire burned inside a chemical plant where authorities ordered nearby neighborhoods to evacuate because of threats from toxic smoke and potential explosions. Emergency responders safely evacuated a small handful of employees working when the fire broke out at about 4 a.m. Monday at the plant outside the port city of Brunswick, Ga., said Prosswimmer, who was on the scene with fire crews from Jacksonville, Fla., sent to help battle the flames. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

An explosion occurred just as firefighters arrived at the plant, said Capt. Eric Prosswimmer of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. Firefighters fought the blaze for about two hours before requesting additional resources due to its severity, Prosswimmer said.

As the onsite water supply of more than 1 million gallons diminished and crews pulled back, there were two more explosions, he said. Although photos from the scene showed the fire initially sent a thick plume of smoke into the air, Prosswimmer said later Monday the smoke had died down.

One firefighter was transported to the hospital with exhaustion and is in stable condition, he said.

County officials said the fire is expected to burn out.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, Prosswimmer said. Hazardous materials teams are working with plant employees to determine if more evacuations need to be ordered, he added.

“Currently, Symrise has no reason to believe that the fire will cause additional health hazards to the local community,” the company said in a statement Monday. “Symrise will closely cooperate and support local authorities in analyzing the causes for the fire as soon as the authorities allow return to the area.”

Story Credit: usatoday.com

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